by Don Ingwerson
Most of us have very efficient ways of compartmentalizing aspects of our life. There’s a time for community service, spending time with the family, recreation, vacations, exercise, and fixing things around the house. These plans make us feel like we’re propelling ourselves forward in a balanced manner – keeping peace with our family members and showing attention to everything that seems important in our lives.
But wouldn’t it be fantastic if all these tasks had a thread running through them that gave us a greater sense of inner peace and satisfaction? In other words, a life that blessed others in such a way that it gives evidence of a spiritual power within. In this vast country of ours, bigger always seems better. And yet, how wonderful it would be if I didn’t feel that the faster I run the further behind I get. Many characteristics that surmount the pressures of bigness or busyness come from very small and seemingly unimportant deeds. These small, insignificant deeds affect daily happiness, create joy, reduce stress, promote satisfaction, and lay a solid foundation for the more lasting qualities that point to the self we desire. This past week my daughter shared with me just such an account. It had that thread I mentioned earlier.
My daughter’s management team at her shopping center has been working to create a memorable experience that shows genuine care and appreciation for each guest so that they will spread the word of their excellent service. One example of this excellent service was when a call was received from a customer who had visited the shopping center the night before. This woman shared how she had arrived home and realized that she had left her Chanel handbag and its contents hanging on the back of a public restroom door. Because someone very dear to her had given the handbag to her, it held great sentimental value.
When she realized she had left it, she was absolutely distraught. She called the concierge an hour after she had left the restroom and was told that her handbag had already been turned in and was waiting for her. At this point, she broke into tears of gratitude. She didn’t even ask what was inside, as she assumed the contents had been emptied. When she arrived to pick it up, she was surprised and delighted to find her cash and credit cards were still inside. This woman then asked who had found her bag and was told it was a member of the housekeeping staff. She was able to thank the staff member and tried to give her a nice tip. The woman who had found the purse explained that she loved helping people and was very happy to have the opportunity to return it to its owner.
The thread of honesty and trust running through the actions of each team member was the foundation for service in this situation. Although this team was not set up for anything other than customer service, health also thrives on these same qualities.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil in Spontaneous Happiness, these same elements of goodness, gratitude, happiness, joy, and satisfaction are very important to the health of individuals.
This story is interesting to me, not because I have been searching for ways to reach customer service goals, but because I have been identifying characteristics that are health giving. In one act, the housekeeping staff member provided an example of what Moses was talking about in the 10 Commandments, Jesus with the Beatitudes, and Mary Baker Eddy when she described man as being a reflection of God as Truth, Principle, and Love.
The shopping center team goals clearly accomplished the external values in this example of providing a shopping center where people cared. Yet it was the intrinsic values of satisfaction, honesty, and trust that activated the thread of those internal values of the individual. Dr. Weil comments, “the scientific evidence of the positive effects on health from feelings of satisfaction and expressions of gratitude is really stunning.”
Article previously published February 13, 2013 and first published in Blogcritics.